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Citizenship: Fingerprint Checks

Volume 706: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008


My honourable friend the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration (Phil Woolas) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have made an authorisation under Section 19D of the Race Relations Act 1976, as amended, in the light of a sharp increase in applications to the Border and Immigration Agency from inadequately documented individuals who claim to be North Korean in 2007, and intelligence indicating that significant numbers of these may hold South Korean citizenship gained through the South Korean new settlers scheme, which provides citizenship to all North Koreans who request it within the South Korean territory.

The authorisation will enable the Secretary of State to forward to the South Korean authorities fingerprints of inadequately documented individuals who claim to be North Korean, for the purposes of checking against their national fingerprint database and ascertaining their citizenship.

With the valued co-operation from the South Korean Government, this authorisation will facilitate the return to South Korea of those individuals who come to the UK and falsely claim to only hold North Korean citizenship who do in fact hold South Korean citizenship.

The authorisation will be reviewed in one year and will be revoked if it is established that there is no longer justification for the authorisation.

I am placing copies of the authorisation in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.